The 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup is now less than a year away. The tournament is being held in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.
For the first time, 32 nations are competing in the tournament, having previously been a 24-team tournament. There are eight groups of four teams with the top two teams in each group advancing to the knockout round.
As the countdown to the Women’s World Cup begins we give an early preview of the tournament.
- New Zealand
This is a group that could be a real toss-up. The hosts will have a tough group to contend with, but what better time for them to advance into the knockout stage for the first time?
Norway seems to be the heavy favorite to win this group as the highest-ranked team in Group A, but they’re coming off of a disappointing trip to the 2022 Euros where they failed to advance from their group.
Switzerland is the other favorite to advance but they also had a disappointing 2022 Euros campaign where they went 0-2-1 in the group stage.
This will be the Philippines’ first trip to the Women’s World Cup; it’ll be a bit of a homecoming for their Australian head coach Alen Stajcic who was also the coach of the Australian Women’s team from 2014-19.
- Republic of Ireland
Group B will likely be a tough group. Australia has one of the best goalscorers in the world with Sam Kerr but they’ve struggled recently. Despite the struggles, they’ll likely still be a favorite to advance from this group.
Canada is coming off a gold medal win at the Olympics and seems to be playing good soccer. For Canada to have an easier trip to the Final, they’ll want to win the group to avoid a meeting with England early on.
This will be the Republic of Ireland’s first trip to the World Cup.
- Costa Rica
Spain went into the 2022 Euros as the favorites, but they were knocked out by eventual winners, England, in the quarter-finals. Ahead of the Euros, Spain dealt with a good amount of injuries including star Alexia Putellas. If Spain comes into the tournament healthy they could be very dangerous.
Japan is a strong competitor in this group and the tournament as a whole. They’ve advanced from the group stage in three straight World Cups and are currently ranked 11th in the FIFA rankings.
- Group B play-off winner
- China PR
England has quickly become one of the most exciting teams to watch and they’ll likely be one of the favorites to win the whole tournament. They cruised through the 2022 Euros on their way to lifting the trophy. It seems likely that England will win this group but they’ll need to not look past China PR.
China will also likely advance from this group. They’ve played and advanced out of the group stage in eight straight World Cups.
- Group A play-off winner
The USWNT got what could be a tough draw with the Netherlands. Luckily for the U.S. though it seems that the Netherlands is struggling after a brutal 2022 Euros campaign.
The USWNT is looking for their fifth World Cup and while they are always one of the favorites of the tournament, they’ve had a rough go as of recently. They recently lost two international friendlies against England and Spain. It’s the US team that will be younger and less experienced in big tournaments but they’ll still have a good shot at another title.
Vietnam is another team that’s participating in its first World Cup.
- Group C play-off winner
Another tough group with two heavy-weight countries is France and Brazil. France is currently ranked No. 5 while Brazil is No. 9 in the FIFA rankings.
France is a team that’s been met with a lot of disappointment but they have a ton of potential. If they come ready to play they could make a run.
Brazil is a team that has a lot of history in the women’s game, but they’ll have a young team at this tournament. Even with the youth, they could still top this group if they get the best of France.
- South Africa
Sweden is the runaway favorite in this group. The Swedes came up just short in the last Olympics winning a silver medal. They’ve come in third place at three different World Cups including recently in 2019.
- Korea Republic
Germany will be the heavy favorite of Group H. Germany came in second place at the 2022 Euros and is currently ranked third in the world. Korea Republic is the next highest-ranked team in that group coming in at No. 17.
The group draws have been completed but there are three playoff tournament groups. The playoff tournament will be from February 18-23. Those groups are:
- Group A
- Portugal, Cameroon, Thailand
- Group B
- Chile, Haiti, Senegal
- Group C
- Chinese Taipei, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Panama
For Group A, Cameroon and Thailand will face off first and then the winner will play Portugal for the World Cup spot.
In Group B, Senegal and Haiti will face off for a chance to play Chile in the final for the World Cup spot.
Finally, for Group C Chinese Taipei will take on Paraguay and Papua New Guinea will play Panama with the winners of those two matches facing off for the final spot.